My husband and I have a difficulty helping our 11 year old son (my step-son) sleep through the night. He sleep walks on occasion; when this happens, he simply walks to my husband's side of the bed without saying a word. My husband then walks him back to his bed and lays down with him until he is asleep. On other occasions, he gets anxious and upset that he can't sleep and my husband again goes to his room with him. We believe the bigger issue is that our son is still sleeping in his (single) mother's bed when he is at her house. Over the years, we have developed a pretty good parenting relationship with her although we have also learned not to interfere with what goes on in her house. My husband adressed this topic when our son was in kindergarten and she admitted that things needed to change. He is now in 5th grade and still sleeping in her bed. My husband has told his son that he should not sleep with his mother but I don't think the onus should be put on his son to make changes. In your opinion, should we be concerned with this situation and stick to "Mom's House, Dad's House"? She sees nothing wrong with it and challenges us to find research to the contrary. Any ideas?
You are adopting a very wise approach. Ultimately your son's mother will have to change. The rule of thumb is this: The child will change to the degree that the parent can change. In this instance, of course, it is not your behavior that needs to change, but that of his mother. And only she can do that. At your end of things you are handling the matter well. If your son's mother is convinced that his sleeping with her is OK, it's probably going to be nearly impossible to dislodge that opinion from her head. The Child Development Institute and other reputable organizations advise against the practice your son's mother is following, but I'm afraid she's not likely to pay much attention to documentation. It sounds like she's made up her mind.
Humans have lived the majority of our existence with a family in one small space. In many countries the entire family sleeps in one bed. I've lived in India and Kenya, and the families I encountered had only one or two beds pushed together in which everyone slept together. I know it is unusual in our culture, but those people seemed just fine to me. At the beginning of the 19th century it wasn't uncommon for everyone to sleep in one bed here in the U.S. So...I'm just wondering what is so horrible about it that reputable organizations advise against it? The people I met didn't have any separation issues or any other emotional problems. It is just a cultural thing. In Western society we believe in separating ourselves so much its almost ridiculous.
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